Discovery Communications on Thursday (Feb. 26) confirmed that it has appointed Laura Michalchyshyn president and general manager of its eco-centric network, Planet Green.
Michalchyshyn, who had served as executive vp and general manager of Sundance Channel, will take the helm at Planet Green effective March 16. She replaces Eileen O’Neill, who took the reins at Discovery’s TLC in June 2008, just days after the launch Planet Green, following the abrupt departure of Angela Shapiro-Mathes.
In her new role, Michalchyshyn will oversee the network’s creative and business strategy, including programming, operations and content development. She will serve as the chief editorial executive and will manage the overall direction of Planet Green.
Based in New York, Michalchyshyn will report to CEO David Zaslav. On Wednesday, Zaslav told analysts that a new Planet Green president would be identified in short order.
“I have known Laura for many years, and she is truly one of the most creative programming leaders in the industry today,” Zaslav said, by way of announcing the hire. “Laura’s ability to lead and grow prestigious brands, combined with her passion for the environment ... makes her uniquely qualified to take Planet Green to the next level.”
Michalchyshyn joined Sundance in January 2005 as executive vp of programming and marketing. During her tenure at the Rainbow Media-owned network, she oversaw the production of a number of original programs, including: Big Ideas for a Small Planet, Iconoclasts, Architecture School and Live from Abbey Road. Fittingly, Michalchyshyn was responsible for Sundance’s elevated focus on environmental issues, launching the channel’s eco-block, The Green, in 2007.
“Celebrating the environment and promoting sustainability are core to Discovery, and under Laura’s stewardship, the company will continue to be the leading provider of credible information and quality entertainment in this important and growing consumer category,” Zaslav said.